Michael Geeleher

Degree: Spanish Studies with Italian
Year of Graduation: 2012
Job Title: Communications Coordinator
Organisation: NBC Universal International

Q. What were the best things about your course at Lancaster?

A. The opportunity to learn a language from scratch (Italian) and that many of my modules focused on culture through film.

Q. How much did you Lancaster degree help you in your career?

A. For my current role it did help – I didn’t graduate with a communications degree but had countless examples of my communications skillset (translation, oral presentations, living in another country etc.).

Q. How much did your language skills help you in your career?

A. I have used both languages on occasion, although they haven’t helped significantly. My department saves costs on translation now.

Q. How much did your year abroad help in your career?

A. Significantly. As I worked (British Council) rather than studied I had a year’s experience in the world of work, so managed to navigate the classic interviewer questions (Name a time when…) with ease. Also, it’s very easy to spin what you learned and achieved on your year abroad towards any position you’re going for. In my case, I had awareness of other cultures and how to deal with them, and a large portion of my job today is communicating messages to employees in 35 other countries.

Q. How has your career progressed since graduating?

A. I had a (poorly paid) internship at a video production company for 8 months after I graduated, then went on to a much better paid 12 month internship at NBCUniversal, and from that have now been given a permanent position there.

Q. What are the most important qualities for being successful in your role?

A. Enthusiasm, organisation, awareness of the industry, and being proactive.

Q. What do you like in your current role?

A. I have almost complete creative control over any creative projects I do for my department, then get to share what I make with thousands of employees across the world. Also - Universal Pictures has been my favourite film company since I was a child – now I get to work there!

Q. What snippet of career advice would you give to a current student?

A. I think what employers really want to see is someone who is enthusiastic and proactive – if you took the time at university to run or be an active member of a club/society, for example, this shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond just studying. I was the president of the Modern Languages Society, made my own YouTube videos and worked with the LA1TV. Interviewers will almost certainly ask you about your time at university; use it as a chance to talk passionately about everything you took the time to do outside of what was required and you’ll demonstrate that you’re the kind of person they want around.